Trek fattens up with the Fuel EX 27.5 Plus

Plus-sized tyres, more travel and aggressive angles for Trek’s trail bike

Trek has introduced a new version of its popular trail bike, the Fuel EX, redesigning it around 27.5+ wheels and tires, adding a bit of suspension travel and making it substantially lower and slacker. 

Trek Fuel EX 27.5 Plus highlights

  • Designed around 27.5x2.8in tyres
  • Also compatible with 29er wheels and tyres
  • 140mm front travel; 130mm rear travel
  • Lower and slacker than previous versions
  • Adjustable geometry
  • One carbon and two alloy versions
  • Pricing from $2,399 -$5,299 (UK and Aussie pricing TBC)
  • Available now

The current Fuel EX is by no means long in the tooth; it was updated in the summer of 2014. But the trend toward fatter rubber pushed Trek to redesign this popular trail bike to be compatible with 27.5+ wheels and tyres.

The new Fuel EX 27.5 Plus will stand beside the current 27.5 and 29in models for now, but given the sweeping changes to the platform, it’s very likely that the non-plus Fuel EX models will receive a similar treatment, at least in terms of suspension and geometry.

Mid-fat wheels and tyres aside, the Fuel EX 27.5 Plus is a significantly more aggressive trail bike than its predecessors. Suspension travel has been increased from 120 to 130mm in the rear. Upfront, all three Fuel EX Plus models are equipped with 140mm suspension forks. Boost axle spacing is present at both ends.

Trek made some significant changes to the bike’s geometry. The Fuel EX 27.5 Plus retains the adjustable high/low geometry via the Mino Link, but it’s much lower and slacker than the rest of the line.

In the high position, the Fuel EX 27.5 Plus has a head tube angle of 67.2 degrees, a bottom bracket height of 339mm/13.4in and a chainstay length of 433mm/17.1in. With the chip in the Mino Link flipped to the low position the head angle drops to 66.6 degrees, the bottom bracket drops to 329mm/13in and the chainstays get a touch shorter at 432mm/17in.

According to Trek the Fuel EX 27.5 Plus can also be fitted with 29er tyres without too much compromise to the bike’s geometry, other than a slight increase in bottom bracket height. The two-position Mino Link can be used to lessen this by setting the bike in the low position.Trek does not recommend running traditionally-sized 27.5in tyres on this bike, as it will lower the bottom bracket too much and adversely affect handling.

Trek’s catalog of mountain bike technologies carry over to this new bike. The ABP suspension system is present, as is a DCRV Fox Float shock with Re:aktiv valving.

New for the Fuel EX 27.5 Plus Line is the ‘Knock Block’ headset system that prevents the fork’s crown from impacting the down tube. Another new addition is internal routing on the alloy versions.

Model specifics, pricing and availability

The Trek Fuel EX 9.8 27.5 Plus :
The Trek Fuel EX 9.8 27.5 Plus :

The Fuel EX 27.5 Plus 9.8 is the top bike in the new line. It has a OCLV carbon main frame and seatstays with alloy chainstays. It features a Shimano 2x11 drivetrain, 140mm Fox 34 Performance fork.

It is available now and retails for $5,299. (UK and Australian pricing have yet to be announced.)

The Trek Fuel EX 8 27.5 Plus:
The Trek Fuel EX 8 27.5 Plus:

The Fuel EX 8 27.5 Plus is the top of two full alloy bikes in the line. It features a SRAM GX drivetrain, and 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm fork.

It is available now and retails for $3,299. (UK and Australian pricing have yet to be announced.)

The Trek Fuel EX 5 27.5 Plus:
The Trek Fuel EX 5 27.5 Plus:

Rounding out the line is the entry-level Fuel EX 5 27.5 Plus. This model sports a Shimano Deore drivetrain with a Race Face Ride double crankset, and a RockShox Sektor Silver fork.

It will be available in June and will retail for $2,399. (UK and Australian pricing have yet to be announced.)

All three Fuel EX Plus models comes equipped with tubeless-ready 27.5x2.8in Bontrager Chupacabra tyres mounted to 40mm-wide SUNringle Duroc 40 rims.

A closer look at the new Fuel EX 27.5 Plus
Josh Patterson

Tech Editor, US
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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